elta Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, says the state’s 13 per cent oil derivation fund remains an integral part of its budget.
Aniagwu stated this while fielding questions at a news conference on Tuesday in Asaba.
He said that it was not wrong for the Federal Government to ask for accountability but that particular states should not singled out on the account of 13 per cent derivation.
According to Aniagwu, the state government is transparent in all its financial management as it deploys its funds into projects execution, salaries and human capital developments.
“Today, everybody talk about 13 per cent derivation as if it is not backed up by law and as if other states are not given funds by way of federal allocation.
“There is nothing wrong in asking for accountability, but the idea of singling out Niger Delta states as if they are the only states that funds are allocated to in this country is not acceptable.
“We must ask the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory and the Federal Government to always explain what they use their resources to do.”
He said that Nigerians had a right to demand accountability and probity from public officers.
“In Delta, we have continued to explain what we have been doing with our resources.
“The Koka Flyover and interchange is about to be completed, Ughelli-Asaba Expressway is being constructed, the human capital development through different platforms that over 17,000 persons have benefited, all these are not voodoo economy.
“In Delta, we do not owe workers salary for one day, it is not voodoo economy, but real money.
“The 13 per cent is what we derive from our state, it is not a dash, it is part of our resources and not a windfall.
“When we prepare our budget, we take cognisance of 13 per cent derivation and when presenting our budget, the derivation is represented as source of revenue, ” Aniagwu said.
He added, “the 13 per cent derivation is given due to the peculiar nature of our region.
“Some of you do know that to construct roads particularly in our coastal communities, one kilometer is costlier than as much as four kilometers in the upland.”
He noted that the Niger Delta region terrain was peculiar and difficult to develop in terms of roads, drainage and bridge construction when compared to other regions in the country.
“So, enough of this blackmail about 13 per cent as if somebody has given us free money and that they want us to come and account for the free money.
”That money is budgeted for, it is a legitimate earnings of the Niger Delta States and constitutionally guaranteed.
“If anybody must seek accountability, let them ask all the states what they do with their resources and not to single out 13 per cent,” Aniagwu said.
Aniagwu who doubles as the Spokesman for Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, said his principal, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has the blue print to lead the country to recovery if given the mandate in 2023.
About, Chatham House, Aniagwu said, “we do not have any problems with people going to Chatham House.
“Chatham House is a wonderful institution, we recognise that, they have played a great role in terms of the political development of our country.
“If we are invited to Chatham House and we have the time, we will go to be able to also speak to the international community.
“We are sure of the capacity of our candidates; Atiku or Ifeanyi Okowa his running mate.”
On the recently concluded 21st National Sports Festival (NSF) in Asaba, the commissioner conveyed the state government’s appreciation to the journalists for articulate reportage while the event lasted.